“Nature abhors a vacuum,” Aristotle famously said. When we look at anything, we put ourselves into that gaze. How do we write about our interactions with the non-human world in ways that are full, accurate, ethical, nuanced, and surprising? And how do our social selves – gender, race, geography, culture, education – influence and comment on how we view “nature”? We’ll work toward poems that can embrace all of those complicated understandings. In this month-long course we’ll study how others have written animals, the field of ecopoetry, and find models for our own work. We’ll skirt the treacherous terrain of personification and nudge up to sentimentality (but not enter it), we’ll invent forms sprung from the creatures we study, we’ll make facts sing without bending them and we’ll rage, rage as necessary.
Elizabeth Bradfield designs most of the work published by Broadsided Press. She launched the journal in 2005 and continues to be fascinated by how poetry and art, together, can amplify each other and reach new audiences. Author of five collections of poetry, she has co-edited Broadsided Press: Fifteen Years of Poetic/Artistic Collaboration, 2005-2020 and Cascadia Field Guide: Art, Ecology, Poetry. Her poems have appeared in The New Yorker, Atlantic Monthly, Poetry, The Sun, and her honors include the Audre Lorde Prize and a Stegner Fellowship. Based on Cape Cod, Bradfield works as a naturalist and teaches at Brandeis University.